WASHINGTON, D.C. — New federal resources have been awarded to train Mahoning Valley workers for manufacturing jobs, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced today. Despite Ohio’s unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, nearly 100,000 Ohio jobs remain unfilled, according to the state’s job search website. Workforce Innovation Funds (WIF) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will go to support the project, which is aimed at training workers in Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties for manufacturing positions. The announcement from DOL notes that the Youngstown, OH-Warren, OH-Sharon, PA area is poised for a manufacturing renaissance thanks to oil and shale gas development, but suffers from an “acute and critical” manufacturing skills shortage.
“Manufacturing is part of what has made Ohio great. We know how to make things in our state,” Brown said. “Across Ohio, I’ve heard from business leaders in many sectors—including manufacturing—who say that they have positions to fill, but can’t find workers with the right qualifications. These funds will help ensure that more Ohioans have the right skills to fulfill jobs in the manufacturing industry. My SECTORS Act takes a similar approach by aligning worker training programs to the needs of industries that are creating jobs. It would help local communities and educational institutions tailor workforce training to meet industry needs.”
Many Ohio employers in emerging industries struggle to find workers to fill job vacancies. Brown is the author of the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act, which would help unemployed workers train for high-tech jobs in their region. The SECTORS Act tailors workforce development to the needs of regional industry, allowing more workers to receive placements and attracting more businesses to a given region. The bill would organize stakeholders connected to a regional industry—businesses, unions, education and training providers, and local workforce and education system administrators—to develop plans for growing that industry. Brown’s SECTORS Act would help ensure that new jobs in Ohio’s expanding natural gas industry are filled by Ohioans. Brown’s bill would organize stakeholders connected to a regional industry—multiple firms, unions, education and training providers, and local workforce and education system administrators—to develop plans for growing that industry.
The West Central Job Partnership, based in New Castle, Pennsylvania, will receive $6 million from the U.S. Department of Labor.